What is a Mortise And Tenon Joint?

The mortise and tenon is one of the most commonly used joints. It has been used for centuries in woodwork, particularly in doors, windows and chairs.

A mortise simply put - is a hole in a piece of wood and another piece of wood slots into this. There are many different forms of mortise and tenons. The key to a strong mortise and tenon is a snugly fitting joint. If the joint is too tight there will be no room for glue, and there is a chance of the mortise piece splitting. If the joint is too loose and you need to ‘pack’ the tenon, the joint will be weak. For a strong joint you should be able to push the tenon into the mortise just with hand pressure.

All UK Oak Doors (with the exception of "plank doors") are made and supplied with  mortise and tenon joints - it's important to note - that doors with mortise and tenon joints can only be cut a maximum 1.5 inches all around for sizing - any more than this and the door joints would start losing strength. These joints are commonly used in furniture and door manufacturing today but evidence of this joint has been found in 4800 year old ruins - some archaeologists say these may be the ruins of Noah's Ark in Ankara.

Types Of Mortise And Tenon Joints

  • A Mortise is a hole cut out in a piece of wood.
  • Open Mortise - A Mortise with three sides
  • Stub Mortice - shallow mortise - where depth depends on the size of the timber
  • Through Mortise -A mortise that passes entirely through a piece
  • A Tenon is a slotted into another piece of wood.
  • Sub Tenon - a short tenon that depth depends on the size of the timber and a tenon that is shorter than the width of the mortised piece so the tenon does not show
  • Tusk Tenon - a joint with a wedged type key that holds the joint together
  • Through Tenon - A tenon that passes entirely through a mortise and is visible on the other side
  • Biscuit Tenon - A thin oval shaped piece of wood - like a biscuit
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